This will happen to you someday. It may have happened already. Regardless of how exciting and enjoyable your business is, there will be days (or longer time periods) when you just don’t want to spend time working on your business. It could be because the current tasks you need to work on are not appealing. It could be that there are other things in your life that are draining more of your energy than usual. It could be that you haven’t been seeing the results you desire and you’re struggling to stay motivated to keep trying. Whatever the reason, it’s important to dig into why you are feeling that way and then see what strategies you can put into place to reduce the impact on your business.
What’s Causing This Feeling?
Try to dig into the reason why you don’t want to work on your business. We’ve highlighted some of the possibilities above. There’s a strategy I like called The 5 Whys. Start with the statement of “I don’t feel like working on my business”, then ask yourself “why?”. Whatever answer you give yourself, such as “I’m really tired”, ask yourself “why?” again. In my case, the question would be “why are you tired?”. Give an answer, and again ask why you gave that answer. You get the idea. You ask yourself ‘why?’ 5 times to try and get to the root of the reason why you are feeling the way you do. In my case, it could look something like this:
I don’t feel like working on my business right now.
I’m too tired
I didn’t sleep well last night.
I stayed up late working on other projects. I couldn’t turn my brain off.
I didn’t get them done during the day.
I wasted too much time on social media and tasks that didn’t need to be done.
So really, the reason I don’t want to work on my business is that I’m not doing a good enough job at organizing myself during the day. A solution to this would be to create better to-do lists and ensure that I am completing the tasks that need to be done and then allocating time to work on my business as well.
You may find that the root of your problems are very easy to fix or very difficult. They could uncover things like relationship problems, financial stress, poor organization, depression, or that you’ve taken on too much. Whatever you uncover, look at some of the strategies below for trying to remedy your situation.
Strategies for Getting Motivated!
Identify the tasks to be completed and their priority level. Create a to-do list for your business and list out short, medium, and long term tasks, then mark the ones which need to be completed right now, and which ones can wait.
Break tasks up into smaller chunks. From a psychological perspective, it’s easier to commit to a “easy” task and we get a boost from completing a task and crossing it off our list. Take a larger task such as “writing a blog post” and break it into things like:
- Identify title and topic of blog post
- Write the outline
- Create a first draft
- Create a cover image
- Post to website
- Promote on social media
What once was a larger “write a blog post” task, I can now tackle it in smaller increments. By just starting and achieving the first step, I have at least done something productive for my business, and actually will be more likely to continue onto the next task once I have gotten started.
Make deals with yourself. If a particular task doesn’t sound appealing, make a contract with yourself that you will complete the task or work on it for a period of time, and once done you get to do something that is more enjoyable to you. This could be a brain break, working on a hobby, food, or doing a task for your business that is fun for you. There will always be parts of your business that you love working on, and then parts you don’t particularly enjoy.
Outsource work that you don’t like doing. If you are finding that there are parts of your business that you really don't like doing, consider giving those tasks to someone else. Look for partners who have different strengths and interests, particularly in the areas you are lacking in. Hire employees and contractors to do those tasks for you. This does require increasing your costs or dividing your profits, but if it allows your business to continue to grow and thrive, it may be worth it.
Tackle the hardest task first. Similar to making a deal with yourself in the sense that if you can muster up the motivation to do that hardest task first, then everything afterwards will feel easier and more fun.
Prepare Your Environment. If you are finding it hard to get started, make your first task to just get everything ready that you would need to get started. Turn on the lights, open your laptop, bring your tools and materials into the right place, prepare a snack and a drink to have with you. If you find that distractions and procrastination are a problem, try to remove them from your environment. Leave your phone in a different room, turn off the tv, close your email down. This will make the first step to getting started that much easier and will also improve your chances of staying on task for longer since everything you need is in one place.
Schedule out your day. Sometimes we just need to be told what to do. It sounds odd for entrepreneurs to say, but often we get fatigued by the number of decisions that need to be made in a day, so having a moment where we just know what is going to happen next and there’s no choice in the matter can be very helpful. In a moment when you aren’t feeling fatigued and lacking in motivation, come up with a schedule for your day. When are your tasks all going to be completed, when are you allocating time to your job, your business, your family, your personal health, your social groups, etc.? Script out your day and then stick to it. No going over if a task is taking longer than expected, and no skipping tasks that are not as appealing!
Revisit your ‘Why’. You may recall an earlier blog post titled “What’s Your Why?” which talked about determining the reasons you started your business in the first place. Check in with that reason again and make sure it is still a good enough reason for you to continue. Are you trying to pay down debt, achieve a lifetime goal, solve a problem for people, achieve fame, reach financial independence, change the world, etc.? Sometimes reminding ourselves of why we are doing the business is enough to help us get over the hump we find ourselves in. Keep reminders about your ‘why’ visible in your workspace too. It could be pictures of your family, that dream vacation you want to take, the sports car you want to own someday, or the first dollar you ever earned to remind you of that special feeling you had when you helped a customer out.
Hopefully one of the strategies above can help you overcome the mental block you’re having about your current to-do item! If you have other strategies that have worked for you in the past, share them in the comments or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.